Daily Archives: November 25, 2008

Swedish Witches, Skinny Models and Princess for a Day

Witches help lift Sweden’s job loss curse
Skinny models are a ‘turn off’ in advertising, claim scientists
Japan’s Latest Fashion Has Women Playing Princess for a Day

Inebriated Press
November 25, 2008

081125witchesofswedenSweden’s The Local reported last week that despite a slow economy, Häxriket i Norden is looking to hire 20 new witches for work around the country.  And the UK Telegraph reported researchers have found that skinny models are a turn off to consumers.  Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported that the latest trend in Japan has women playing “princess for a day,” as more Japanese women aim to look like sugarcoated, 21st-century versions of old-style European royalty. Pundits wonder what the hell is going on as brains go topsey turvey along with the global economy.

“It seems pretty obvious that we’ve lost our asses financially — at least based on all the bailouts and my 401k — and it’s looking pretty obvious that we’ve lost our minds as well, at least based on reports in the major media about how folks are behaving nowadays,” said Roger Reddy-Maebee, a professional manager who tries to be prepared for anything, but has been struggling mightily in the current U.S. business climate.  “Employment for witches is climbing while jobs in finance and manufacturing are falling; skinny chicks are turning off people in a culture weighed down by obesity, and typically understated and demure Asian women are dressing like over-the-top European princesses.  I guess if you don’t know which way to turn, you spin in circles until you’re dizzy and then start doing goofy stuff.  I don’t know whether to laugh and call it fun or shit and go blind.  I guess I don’t know what to do myself.”

Not everyone is worried by the current trends in finance or society.  “In times of duress you need to take action that is different than what they have been, in order to establish a new equilibrium in both society and finance,” said Fred Linda Biswitch, the secret cross-dressing CEO of a major U.S. corporation, currently trying to be all things to everyone as long as they can get more government bailout cash.  “Normally I’m a capitalist in the most rigorist sense and I don’t give a rip about anyone and want to crush all competition by being dominant across all service categories.  Today I have a new outlook for our financial service company and understand how critical its existence is to workers and poor bastards who have invested their life’s savings in our organization, and I know that the federal government must bail us out for the good of all humankind.  That and I haven’t received all ten million in bonus cash I’ve got coming to me for the great job I’ve been doing.  Like my chiffon top?  You don’t see many that look like a Dallas Cowboys jersey do you?”

The Local reported that an enterprising Swedish company seeking to hire 20 witches has provided a welcome break in the country’s otherwise steady flow of dismal employment news. Häxriket i Norden, based in Åhus in southern Sweden, is currently seeking to place five witches each in four separate locations around the country, the Skånska Dagbladet newspaper reports. According to the company’s advertisement on a listing maintained by Sweden’s Public Employment Agency, qualified candidates should be well-versed in “contact with the other side, runes, tarots, crystals, herbs, rituals, exorcism, meditation, personal coaching, and more”.

Skinny bitches carry no weight

Skinny bitches carry no weight

The Telegraph reported that researchers have found that skinny models are actually a turn off to consumers in TV commercials and other advertising. In the study psychologist Phillippa Diedrichs, of the University of Queensland, Australia, created a series of ads for underwear, shampoo and a party dress. Researchers found that images of super-thin models carry no edge in encouraging young women to buy and for the majority of adult women ads showing skinny girls actually discouraged sales. So-called plus-size models, on the other hand, actually encouraged them to buy.

The Wall Street Journal reported that when Mayumi Yamamoto goes out for coffee or window shopping, she likes to look as though she’s going to a formal garden party. One day recently, she was decked out in a frilly, rose-patterned dress, matching pink heels with a ribbon and a huge pink bow atop her long hair, dyed brown and in pre-Raphaelite curls. Ms. Yamamoto is a hime gyaru, or princess girl, a growing new tribe of Japanese women who aim to look like sugarcoated, 21st-century versions of old-style European royalty. They idolize Marie Antoinette and Paris Hilton, for her baby-doll looks and princess lifestyle. They speak in soft, chirpy voices and flock to specialized boutiques with names like Jesus Diamante, which looks like a bedroom in a European chateau. There, some hime girls spend more than $1,000 for an outfit including a satin dress, parasol and rhinestone-studded handbag. The princess boom is seen as a more polished and sophisticated look that’s popular among working women in their 20s and 30s, perhaps as a bit of escapism from workaday stress and economic uncertainty.

Hime Gyaru in Japan

Hime Gyaru in Japan

Some people say that if pretending you’re a princess or Swedish witch makes you feel good about current financial trends and helps you forget about Somoli pirates, Al Qaeda and your 401k, then have at it.

“The day after we elected a first-term Senator and community organizer the president of the United States, I was feeling pretty glum, but then I started dressing like a princess and signed up to be a Swedish witch.  Damn I feel good about myself now,” said Betty “Ursula” Bombaske, a former senior investment advisor at a major U.S. firm, now juggling cash and debt the way Bill Clinton does reality.  “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing but what’s new about that?  At least the transition from my work in finance to witchcraft was smooth.  And I’m still hot.  At least I feel that way about myself and in this market that’s about the best you can hope for.”

Walter Mayer no lightweight

Walter Mayer no lightweight

In other news, Australia’s News Limited reported Friday, that a 61-year-old Northern Territory man stood naked in his back yard and bravely used a garden hose to fight off a teenage intruder.  Walter Mayer was having a shower at his Tennant Creek home when he heard his roof being pelted with rocks. When he raced out to see what it was, he could hear his back screen door being rattled. He grabbed his garden hose and sprayed the intruder, and when the 20m-long hose could not be extended any longer, he chased the youth down the street in nothing but his birthday suit. Mr. Mayer – a fit and healthy TV repairman – said his actions were not brave. “It was quite foolish when you sit and think about it now,” he said. No word on whether he thinks dressing like a European princess or pretending you’re a Swedish witch is foolish, but in today’s world I guess you do what works for you.

(C) 2008 InebriatedPress.com

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Intel: U.S. Clout Down, Risks Up

US clout down, risks up by 2025 -intel outlook

By Randall Mikkelsen
Reuters
Thu Nov 20, 2008

WASHINGTON, Nov 20 (Reuters) – U.S. economic and political clout will decline over the next two decades and the world will be more dangerous, with food and water scarce and advanced weapons plentiful, U.S. spy agencies projected on Thursday.

The National Intelligence Council analysis “Global Trends 2025” also said the current financial crisis on Wall Street is just the first phase of a global economic reordering.

The U.S. dollar’s role as the world’s major currency would weaken to become a “first among equals,” the report said.

The outlook is intended to inform U.S. President-elect Barack Obama of factors that will influence global events. It is based on a year-long global survey of experts and trends by U.S. intelligence analysts.

“The next 20 years of transition to a new system are fraught with risks,” said the report, which was more pessimistic about U.S. influence and the potential for conflict than the last outlook for 2020.

Thomas Fingar, chairman of the intelligence council and deputy national director of intelligence for analysis, said harmful outcomes were not inevitable.

“It is not beyond the mind of human beings, or political systems, (or) in some cases (the) working of market mechanisms to address and alleviate if not solve these problems,” Fingar told reporters. “We could have a better world in 2025.”

China and India, following a “state capitalism” economic model, were likely to join the United States atop a multipolar world and compete for influence, the report said.

Russia’s potential was less certain, depending on its energy wealth and internal investment. But Iran, Turkey and Indonesia were also seen gaining power.

POTENTIAL FOR CONFLICT

A world with multiple power centers has been less stable than one with a single or two rival superpowers, and there was a growing potential for conflict, the report said.

Global warming will be felt, and water, food and energy constraints may fuel conflict over resources.

“Strategic rivalries are most likely to revolve around trade, investments and technological innovation and acquisition, but we cannot rule out a 19th century-like scenario of arms races, territorial expansion and military rivalries,” the report said.

“Types of conflict we have not seen for a while — such as over resources — could reemerge,” it said.

Global wealth was seen shifting from the developed West to the energy-rich Gulf States and Russia, and to Asia, the rising center of manufacturing and some service industries.

Global rich-poor disparities would grow, leaving Africa vulnerable to increased instability.

A reordering of the world financial system was happening faster than the report’s authors envisioned, Fingar said. Last weekend’s Group of 20 summit of advanced and major developing countries in Washington showed work had begun, he said.

A shift away from an oil-based energy system will be underway or complete by 2025. Better renewable technologies such as solar and wind power offer the best opportunity for a quick and low-cost transition, the report said.

There was a greater, but still small, risk of nuclear attack, based on spreading technologies and the weakening of international nonproliferation systems.

If Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, Fingar said, that could set off an arms race in the Middle East, which is considered in the report as an “arc of instability.”

The risk that militant groups would use biological weapons was greater than the risk of nuclear terrorism, the report said.

The appeal of terrorism could decline over the next two decades, particularly if Middle Eastern countries provide productive education and opportunities for their young people, the report said. But with a growing population, the pool of potential terrorism recruits is likely to be larger, and access to dangerous weapons will rise.

(Editing by Vicki Allen)
reuters.com

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